By Ibrahim Saleh
BAGHDAD (AA) - Prominent Shia cleric Ali al-Sistani on Friday warned against "serious" consequences of using violence in the ongoing demonstrations in Iraq.
At least 42 people have been killed and some 2,500 others injured so far since anti-government protests erupted on Tuesday.
"There have been unacceptable and condemned attacks on demonstrators, policemen and properties in Baghdad along with a number of provinces," al-Sistani said in a statement.
"In different areas, the demonstrations have led to riots and bloody clashes that left dozens of victims and wounded," he added.
Sistani warned of the "serious repercussions of the use of violence and counter-violence," calling for "avoiding it in all cases".
He called on several Iraqi authorities to take clear anti-corruption measures and clear steps for reform.
Protesters have been demanding improvement in living conditions and an end to corruption. Security forces have reportedly opened fire on protesters to disperse them, causing mass casualties.
*Writing by Mahmoud Barakat